Libertyville's Richardson getting comfortable in new setting

 
By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent

Welcome to high school gymnastics, Matt Richardson.

While the Libertyville senior had already competed this season, Friday's 10th annual Krupicka Invitational at Hinsdale Central was his first huge invite as a high school gymnast.

He did not disappoint.

Richardson won four events as well as the all-around while teammate Max Faber placed second to lead the Wildcats to a state-best 156.050 to finish comfortably in front of runner-up Lyons Township's 150.8.

Hinsdale Central placed third with a 132.45.

Richardson -- a Level 10 club gymnast who is coming off a shoulder injury and is new to the team this spring -- won pommel horse, floor exercise, vault and high bar. Lyons Township's Julian Campbell won the other two events: still rings and parallel bars.

Richardson didn't fall during any of his events.

"Of course this feels really good," he said. "I didn't actually fall this meet, so this was my first high school meet where I didn't fall once. It's been going really good this year after coming back from a year off."

It's hard to imagine Richardson getting much better, but if his high bar routine is any indication, he's now polishing off some rust after being out last season and, believe it or not, getting even better.

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"I've got some stuff that I still can't do right now, but I don't need to do it," he said. "It's pretty crazy how well we did and I hit my high-bar routine better then I've ever done it so I'm happy about that. It was all about my form. My form was better than before."

Robert Cartwright, Matt Nueberger and Tyler Kukla also contributed key scores for Libertyville.

Lukas Styzcen placed second on high bar to help Fremd earn fourth place with a 129.8.

His effort was huge. It helped the Vikings slip past fifth-place Naperville North's 129.6.

Senior Michael Hunter Jr. continued his strong start to the season for the Huskies by taking third place on floor and fourth on vault.

Hunter made his first state appearance at Hinsdale Central in 2017 so he felt comfortable competing there again.

"This stage was a lot bigger with a lot more people than usual meets," he said. "I stuck my double back, which was nerve-wracking and celebrated a bit early, but overall it was good. The atmosphere was great and all the guys here are extremely nice, which made it all the better."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Eric Loid was the Huskies' only all-arounder with a 42.2, which left him in ninth place.

Addison Trail sophomore Matt Wojdak was practicing for vault before the Blazers had their first meet when he overworked his quads and felt like he had suffered a tear. The injury wasn't as bad as it could've been, but Wojdak just returned this week.

In just his second meet of the young season, he tied for first place on floor.

"I'm still working to get my old routine from last year so I can get that double back," he said. "I'm really hoping to have a strong season now and feel like I can get back to state."

The Blazers were sixth with a 123.7. York took seventh with a 121.3.

Jake Bastian had a 38.2 in the all-around for Addison Trail. Patrick Kimbler had a 41.6 for the Dukes.

Mundelein's Will Ferro was fourth in the all-around, second on pommel horse and fifth on still rings.

Naperville Central's Jeremy Venegas scored a 37.6 in the all-around for the Redhawks.

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